Pro Bono Program


Pro Bono

Small Business Pro Bono Project

The Small Business Pro Bono project is a partnership among Notre Dame Law School, the Gigot Center of the Mendoza College of Business, and the Pro Bono Committee of the St. Joseph County Bar Association. The project gives students a chance to provide direct representation to modest-income entrepreneurs in the South Bend area.

Each spring semester, teams of Notre Dame law students, under the supervision of local pro bono attorneys, perform an analysis of the legal needs of local entrepreneurs chosen by the Mendoza College of Business. The law students have an opportunity to develop the fundamental legal skills and professional values involved in practicing business and transactional law. Depending on specific assignments, law students will gain experience interviewing and counseling clients, conducting factual investigations and legal audits of businesses, and monitoring and advising compliance with federal, state and local statutes, rules and regulations.

Law students and their supervising attorneys perform the following tasks:

  • Meet with a business owner to learn about the business and identify legal issues.
  • Conduct legal research concerning any identified issues.
  • Draft an opinion letter to the business owner that identifies legal issues, provides basic information about them, and conveys any advice or recommendations that the legal team deems appropriate.
  • Meet with the business owner a second time to deliver and discuss the advice.
  • Conduct any further legal work that the legal team may agree upon (optional).